## Word Problem Wednesday – Pei Ling, Zandy, and Sulaiman

This month’s problem comes from the website TestPapersFree.com, which provides past copies of continual and semestral assessments from Singapore Primary Schools. This is a great resource if you’re looking to see questions directly from Singapore classrooms. This problem is from Raffles Girls School,  Grade 4, and is a Semester 2 assessment, which is the final term of the year.

##### Pei Ling had 3 times as many cards Zandy. Sulaiman had half the number of cards Zandy had. There were a total of 1278 cards. How many more cards did Pei Ling have than Zandy?

Submit your solutions by the end of the month!

The prior problem was from the Grade 6 STAAR 2013-2017 Released Test questions from lead4ward aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS.

How did you do?

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## Word Problem Wednesday – Rulers and Bread

Word Problem Wednesday was such a hit, we’re going to continue throughout the year with one problem a month.

This problem popped up in my Medium feed last month:

Algebraic expressions — the return! Guess the Misconception author Craig Barton noted that on a quiz website for test prep in the UK,  only 1 in 3 students could answer this problem correctly. At the time, I was also analyzing the value of model drawing by reviewing released problems from the 6th-grade STAAR tests, so my first thought was, hmm, how would this work as a bar model?

Pretty well, actually. If I know that:

I can find:

The AQA is an independent education charity that offers GCSE testing in the UK. DiagnosticQuestions.com provides multiple choice questions so you can build your own assessment, or use one of their collections.

Check out a bar model solution:

Finally, this month’s problem comes from the Grade 6 STAAR 2013-2017 Released Test questions from lead4ward aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS. It aligns to the standard:

6.4(B) (New) Proportional Reasoning: Apply qualitative and quantitative reasoning to solve prediction and comparison of real-world problems involving ratios and rates.

##### There are 176 slices of bread in 8 loaves. If there are the same number of slices in each loaf, how many slices of bread are there in 5 loaves?

Submit your solutions by the end of the month!

The prior problem was from the Teacher’s Guide for Primary Mathematics US Edition 5A.

We had a couple of submissions.

Here’s Shirley Davis’ model and algebra combo:

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## Word Problem Wednesday – Alice, Betty, & Cassie

Word Problem Wednesday was such a hit, we’re going to continue throughout the year with one problem a month.

Our problem this month comes courtesy of a 5th grade teacher who was excited that for the first time, her students understood and easily modeled this problem from the Teacher’s Guide for Primary Mathematics US Edition 5A.

##### Alice, Betty, and Cassie have \$70 altogether. The ratio of Alice’s money to Betty’s money is 1 : 3. Cassie has \$10 more than Alice. What is the ratio of Alice’s money to Betty’s money to Cassie’s money?

Submit your solutions by the end of the month!

Shirley Davis shared her algebraic bar model solution:

How did you do?

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## Word Problem Wednesday – Pinecones

Word Problem Wednesday was such a hit, we’re going to continue throughout the year with one problem a month.

Singapore Math, Inc. will be releasing a new series April 25 at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Conference. This problem comes from a chapter on two-step word problems from 3A

##### Mei and Dion together made 11 turtles. Mei made 3 more turtles than Dion. How many turtles did Mei make?

Submit your solutions and we’ll post all interesting solutions.

The last problem was taken from Noetic Learning’s problem of the week Sign up to receive their weekly problems.

##### Robin’s age is 3 times Marcia’s age. Anna is twice as old as Marcia. The sum of their ages is 30. How old is Marcia?

Shirley Davis shared her algebraic bar model solution:

How did you do?

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## Throwback Thursday Extra-Test Prep

As the standardized testing season approaches, we present readers a special edition of Throwback Thursday featuring one of our more popular posts. Here, Beth Curran addresses common questions and misconceptions on the topic of Test Preparation. As a teacher, I encouraged my students to welcome their annual opportunity to “show what they know.”

## Test Prep: Is it really necessary?

Originally published February 16, 2017

For many, Spring brings with it those two dreaded words: standardized tests.

Whether your school is required to take PARCC, Smarter Balanced, state mandated standards-based tests or ERBs, you inevitably will want to make sure your students are prepared.  Many teachers will plan to block out two to three weeks prior to the testing dates to review and teach content that may not have been covered, but is this interruption to instruction necessary?

It’s estimated that students and teachers lose an average of 24 hours of instructional time each year administering and taking standardized tests.  This doesn’t include time taken out of the instructional day for test prep so that number may even be quite higher.

Q: But, I need to review to make sure my students remember concepts taught at the beginning of the year.

A: Not if you have been teaching to mastery.

Teaching math with a mastery-based program that is rich in problem-solving may all but eliminate the need for any test prep or review.  If your students have a solid foundation in the basics and have practiced applying that knowledge to solving problems throughout the school year, then nothing a standardized test can throw at them should be unachievable. With a cohesive curriculum, where concepts build on each other, your students have essentially been revisiting concepts throughout the year. So, trust in what your students have learned and skip the review.

Q: What about going over topics that I haven’t covered yet?

A: How much success have you had cramming for an exam?

If material is thrown at students for the sake of a test a few things can happen.

• Students won’t retain information. If students have not been given enough time to progress through the concrete-representational-abstract phases of learning, they will likely not be able to recall concepts or apply those concepts to the unfamiliar situations they might encounter on the standardized test.
• Students will be stressed out. They will feel the pressure (that unfortunately, you are likely feeling as well) to get a good score on the test. Learning becomes just something to do for a test.
• You will get false positive results. Have you ever had the teacher in the next grade up comment that students couldn’t remember a concept that you know you taught? Or, better yet, had test scores reflect learning, but students couldn’t perform at the next grade level? That can be a result of concepts being taught too quickly.

So, rather than block out a few weeks to cram in topics that you haven’t covered, try integrating them into other areas of your day. Do some data analysis in morning meeting. Add some questions about telling time to your calendar activities. Play with measurement and geometry during recess (The weather is getting nice, right?).

If you follow the sequence in your well-thought-out curriculum and teach some of those missing concepts after testing, it’s ok. Your students will experience those concepts in an order that makes sense and will be able to make connections, apply their thinking and master those concepts. That mastery will stay with them into the next year and will be reflected on upcoming standardized tests.

After all, we don’t stop teaching after standardized tests.  Well… that’s probably a topic for another post.

photo courtesy of Alberto G.

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